Choosing an Orange County Flight School

When it comes to learning to fly, students in Orange County have options.  The challenge about picking a flight school is summed up by the old saying, “I don’t know what I don’t know.”  In the next several articles, we are going to share a few pointers on getting from zero to your pilots license in the best possible way.

Picking your instructor

Your instructor, also known as a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), is going to be the one who is working with you one on one over the course of the next six months to a year.  It is important to make sure your personalities match.  Then, you’ll want to dive in to the details.  

Experience – How long has your instructor been flying?  Many pilots have some interesting flying backgrounds, be it military time or a parent that flew them around when they were young.  Getting to know them on a personal level will create a stronger bond and create a greater learning experience.  

Knowledge – When you are interviewing a potential CFI, ask them the requirements to obtain you private pilots license.  Also, ask they are part 91 or part 141.  Ask what the differences between the two are and how they apply to you.   As long as you are a pilot, you’ll need to learn and continue to know the FAA regulations.  Having a very knowledgeable instructor who can guide you through the FAR/AIM is an important part of your training.   

Scheduling – Take a look at your schedule and figure out what works for you.  Then, ask what is their availability?  If you can only take lessons on the weekend, can your CFI make time for you then?  What if you want to fly in the evenings?    

Workload – Some schools tend to load up their teachers so much that they just don’t have time for you.  If you really want to accelerate your training, taking two lessons a week might be a good strategy.  Check to make sure your CFI can give you the time you’ll need to succeed.

Other Options – Does the school have other instructors to choose from?  If your first interview doesn’t go the way you’d hoped, you may want to ask the school to meet with other instructors.

Choosing a CFI is an important part of your pilot training.  You will forever remember your first flight in the left seat, your first solo and the day of your checkride.  Having the right instructor at your side to guide and encourage you will make all the difference in the world.  Obtaining your private pilots license is an experience you’ll never forget.  Be sure to select the right CFI and enjoy the process.